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Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
Eastern Conference Semifinal
Carolina -1½ +155 over NY Rangers
7:00 PM EST. OT Included. Carolina is coming off a seven-game homer series against Boston where they won every game at home and lost every game on the road. That series was expected to be close and it was. As for the Rangers, well, let’s call a spade a spade, as they needed a plethora of good fortune to advance in a seven-game series against the Penguins. New York was down 3-1 in the series to a third string goaltender and then Sidney Crosby was hurt in Game 4 and wasn’t able to lace ‘em for Game 5. The Rags were also down 2-0 in Game 5 and scored with just under three minutes left in the third to take a 4-3 lead. The Rags had one foot on the golf course before pulling it out. They also got lucky in Game 7, as they were the second best team on the ice but buried a Game 7 OT winner to advance.
Alright, that’s the setup and now the choice is to play New York at +150 in Game 1 (very enticing) or take Carolina at -170, -105 to win in regulation (tie after 60 minutes is a loss) or spot the -1½-pucks and take back 50 cents on the dollar. We prefer the last option over regulation because in order to win a regulation bet, the team has to be up by one goal. If they are, the opposition will pull the goalie and open the door for an empty netter. In the playoffs, coaches are pulling their goalie with 2½ minutes left or more. There is also the possibility that our team is up two or three goals. Point is we’re not in the least bit scared of spotting -1½ pucks.
Back to calling a spade a spade. The Rangers were absolutely dominated in the first round but won nonetheless, just like they did all year. At some point, that model will fail. The Rangers will not outplay Carolina. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that it’ll be a completely lopsided scoring chances advantage that the Hurricanes will have throughout the entire series. The Rangers path to victory will be the same path that Dallas had against Calgary, a goaltender that plays out of his mind but it’s a far cry from a reliable one, as the Rangers were mere inches away from losing the first round in five games. The way Carolina wins games is much more dependable.
Igor Shesterkin had some great moments and some shaky moments in Round 1 but what stands out above all else is that he had no support in front of him. The Rangers absolutely left their goaltender hung out to dry, and he didn’t respond up to his usual standards. The Rangers had a massive goaltending edge against Pittsburgh, facing Louis Domingue for most of their series, and still barely squeaked by. The difference is that Carolina doesn’t need to rely on its goalies to win. The Hurricanes defense is outstanding and while it had some difficulties against a very strong Bruins team, Carolina takes a massive step down in class here and unless the Rags get really lucky, this series will be over quickly.
Carolina -1½ +155 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.10)